The first-ever virtual exhibition created by the Fairfield University Art Museum has recently opened, featuring almost forty works by New York artist Howard Skrill.
This exhibition, Howard Skrill: Monumental Follies, explores the impact of public monuments, their creation, removals and their absences. Speaking about the exhibition, the Museums executive director Carey Weber said, The timeliness and relevance of this exhibition, in relation to the ongoing social unrest, was unanticipated. We stand in solidarity with everyone who condemns violence and racism, and hope that the Museum can be a space for difficult conversation around these issues of social and racial justice.
In his drawings and paintings, Skrill documents figurative public statuary, surveys their destruction or relocation, and explores the fractured nature of personal and public memory, as well as the contemporary reaction to and protests of these historical works. Many of his works were painted en plein air (open air), recording not just the monuments, but the constant changes of light and color encountered around them out-of-doors. After the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville (August 2017) when protests against monuments and removals started proliferating, Skrill chose to record the important events, even when he could not paint them on site.
The exhibition was created using Kunstmatrix, a unique tool that helps to create virtual 3-D exhibitions for the digital presentation of artworks. The viewer can choose to explore the exhibition one work at a time in any order they want, or take a guided tour. Additional features include information tabs with wall label text for each object. An audio tour with clips for select paintings, created and narrated by Skrill, is also available on the Museum website.
According to Weber, this first-ever online exhibition is a response to the current social isolation due to the pandemic. While it is disappointing that the works cannot be viewed in-person in the galleries, this virtual presentation will make these important works accessible to a much larger digital audience, said Weber. Anyone, anywhere, will be able to go online and tour the exhibition, enlarge the works to look closely, and enjoy related commentary through the Current Exhibitions tab of our museums website.
Skrill (b. 1962) is an artist and art professor at St. Francis College, Brooklyn, NY and Essex College in Newark, NJ. He has exhibited extensively throughout New England, and his pictorial essays and other works have appeared in publications worldwide.